The Holidays can be a stressful time for students and recent graduates living on a small income. We’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us to spend money on gifts, decorations, dinners, etc. But is money really everything? To help you get through the holidays on a budget, we’re sharing our best tips that will ease the stress and save your wallet!

Make a Budget

Before you start picking things up at the store, take time to make a list of all your holiday expenses. Make sure to include everyone you need to buy for as well as decorations and travel costs. Once you have a budget, you’ll have a clearer picture of what you can actually afford.

Have an Honest Conversation with Family and Friends

Sit down with your family and friends this holiday season and talk openly about what you can and can’t afford. Setting a price limit on your gift giving can help avoid any awkward situations or guilt if someone spends more money on you than you did on them.

If you’re hosting dinner, ask family and friends to bring a little something for the dinner, whether it’s a bottle of wine or a tasty dessert. This will save you money and the stress of creating an entire dinner.

Choose Homemade

Homemade gifts are usually cheaper than store bought and carry more sentimental value. Good at cross-stitch? Got a serious knack for baking? Love woodworking? Show your loved ones how much you care with a hand-crafted gift just for them. It’s also a great opportunity to show off your talents.

This is also a cool way to incorporate your own crafts into decorations! With proper storage, they will last for years! Don’t have any crafty talents? Write a heartfelt note, prepare a photo album or a storybook of your favourite memories.

Offer or Ask for Alternatives to Gifts

When did the holidays become about money anyway? Get back to what really matters and ask your loved ones to forego gift giving altogether. Instead, try spending some quality time one-on-one with them to show you care. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it together. Memories are really the most precious gift you can give.

Alternatively, you could offer and ask for gifts of labour. Give parents the gift of relaxation by coming over to clean the house or do the things they can’t.

Plan Ahead

Start planning for the holidays early in order to avoid stress. Keeping your eyes peeled for great deals throughout the year dramatically reduces your gift-giving costs and saves you the trip to the mall during the busy season. Try putting a little bit of money away throughout the year so you don’t feel forced to choose between groceries or gifts.

From all of us here at TalentEgg, have a safe, wallet-friendly and happy holiday!

About the author

Anastasia Payne is a third-year journalism student at the University of Kings College in Halifax. When she isn’t buried in her school books, she can be found losing herself on nature hikes and watching Netflix originals with her cats. Anastasia spent her last semester interning for the Dalhousie Gazette and is currently working as a freelance writer for TalentEgg.